I am watching the news on TV3 one of the Catalan television channels. They are reporting on a fire which killed three women yesterday in Sabadell, a city 20km north-east of Barcelona. The report is in Catalan, the neighbours interviewed speak in Spanish (castellano) and the story moves seamlessly from one language to another. No voice-over. No subtitles. This is because people who speak Catalan are all bilingual so they have no problem switching between languages.
Interestingly in the recent furor over possible independence one of the criticisms I heard from Spanish speakers is that Catalans only speak one minority language. Actually it is the rest of Spain who only speak one language. People here in their daily lives are constantly moving between two – and in our home – three!
I try to imagine this happening in the UK – that the news is broadcast in two languages and changes from one to another with no warning or explanation. It is one of those things that make life here fascinating.
Meanwhile I wonder how many more years before I can understand all that is said on the news!